Monday, December 01, 2008

Prop 8, People of Color, and Passing the Buck

I hate Prop 8. I hate that I feel weirded out to live in California, and Oakland, for the first time in my life. I've always had a strange Oakland Pride- strange because this little city is famous all over the US (the world?) for being a dangerous place, yet I call it home, and return here every time I move away with a sigh of relief. Prop 8, and the vociferous, vehement, volatile supporters of a hateful bill, made me uncomfortable here for the first time in my life. It's not like I could just move to Berkeley or San Francisco or somewhere else in California- this whole state has gone the "wrong" way.

It's almost worse for me to hear friends and family saying things like "it's too bad that the Obama vote helped get this passed" or "the minority churches really helped get this passed." Sure, I was disappointed to see church groups supporting Prop 8 (from the LDS to the local Tongan church in my neighborhood), as I'm a big supporter of religious feeling being used for positive social change, and I was especially disappointed to recieve a full paged, full color, ad on election day of Barack Obama with a misleading quote implying he was for Prop 8 when in fact he had not come out for the Proposition.

On the other hand, over half of Californians voted for Prop 8, and against gay marriage. They weren't all black. They weren't all Hispanic. In fact, everyone's favorite election statistician (I hear he does baseball, too) says that pointing the finger at people of color and new Obama supporters is incorrect. What I can say about Prop 8 "yes voters", whoever they are, is that they all voted against basic civil rights, and felt that in some way, gays and lesbians are "different" or less deserving of the right to marry (privelege? opportunity? whatever you want to call it, separate and not equal). Adele Carpenter at Racialicious says it better than I ever can in Resisting the Racist Blame Game. It's old news: the feminist movement is/was historically very "white" (to be gentle) and "racist" (to be honest) (I'm going to go with is), and the LGBT movement has followed in their footsteps. It's easy to wear blinders and point fingers, but it's not productive. We have to move forward, and figure out how to make Oakland and California a place that sends the dominoes falling in a positive direction again.


brownstocking said...

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I'm still frustrated, but I think all "allies" agree, we need to move on with the fight.

Good writing, and I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

I think it is really pathetic that you are apologizing for the homophobia in the black community. Just today I was reading an article by a black lesbian who was talking about how severe the homophobia is in the black community- more so than other communities.

By the way, I have never identified as white so when you reference my blog as an example of racist feminism, realize you are wrong.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
themacinator said...

brownstocking- you're right, it's time for me to move on with my frustration, and move forward in alliance. thanks for the good reminder.

jane- a couple things. first, i don't think i'm apologizing for anyone or anything. i'm frustrated that prop 8 passed, and also frustrated with finger pointing, which among obama supporters, and my friends and family, seems to be at people of color right now. again, over half of californians voted for prop 8, and over half of voters were not "black" as you said (i said "people of color"). of course there is homophobia in the "black community". of course there is homophobia in the "white community" (i'm ready to deconstruct those terms when you are). but i'm frustrated with blame, passing the buck. it's time to move forward, through educating, alliance-building, and with all people, and "communties".

further, i think i misplaced the link to your blog. i didn't mean for it to be under "white" but "racist." i apologize for identifying you as a race. i do read your blog post as racist, however, and will move the link to where i think it belongs.